What’s on the L.O.W.?!: Scott Siskind – Vinny Vegas

In this edition of What’s on the L.O.W.?! I reconnected with an amazing musician and graphic designer Scott Siskind.

Vinny Vegas – Audiotree Live from Audiotree Live on Vimeo.


Scott not only founded the group but also makes fantastic music with them. They have performed all over the nation and also have a few tours under their belts.We’ve been fans for years now and have continued to keep up with their work since we had performed with them as The Offset years ago.

This time around Scott and I discussed their music, their love of performing, their favorite tracks from their latest record “The Big White Whale” and how life, friends, and loved ones have affected their music. The Moose cover and font scheme for the group was done by Erin Ellis and the Big Blue Whale, The Treehouse and the Blue Tunnel were all done by Michael Miller. Check into their work, maybe you’ll get some work done by them soon for your next album!

 
An2S: What are the roots of Vinny Vegas? When did you guys get started? What brought you all together?

Scott: The band started with Jason Cohen and I back in 2007. We began no differently than a lot of bands in that we would just go down to the basement and jam for hours. I had a few song ideas I was trying to put a full band together for, and once we formed a full lineup, we all began writing together.

 

An2S: How do you decide on the cities to visit when you go on tour? Which has been your favorite to play so far?

Scott: Well, when we first started traveling and playing, we would mostly just go to where ever we wanted to visit that was close enough to get to in a few days off of work. In time, we started building small followings and sort of built a little circuit for ourselves. Mostly these days, we honestly just try to keep coming back to the places we know people and can have the best time at shows with friends we don’t get to see often.

An2S: What’s your favorite song to perform from your latest album “The Big White Whale”? and Which is your favorite to listen to?

Scott: I think if you ask most members of the band, you will get the answer of “Highs and Lows” as our favorite song to perform live. As far as my favorite song to listen to, I think it’s probably a tie between Sleeping Cliffs, and Taste of Your Own Tongue.

 

An2S: Where do you guys draw inspiration to write and perform the music you do?

Scott: I could list about a thousand bands and musicians here as influences. But honestly, for me at this point, the inspiration comes from life I would say more than anything. After doing this thing for the past 8 years and getting to experience the things I’ve gotten to with these guys(both good and bad), I find myself very grateful to just have this artistic expression in my life, and it’s really opened me up to putting my best effort into creating good, honest music.

 

  

An2S: What can we expect next from Vinny Vegas?

Scott: We’re really focused on writing at the moment, and are working on a new record.

 

Check out Scott’s stuff with Vinny Vegas at http://vinnyvegasmusic.com/ and be sure to pick up their latest, The Big White Whale.

What’s on the L.O.W.?! – Phil Spiess of Two Canadians

Recently I had the pleasure of doing an interview with a friend and fellow musician, Phil Spiess. We met when Burd and I played a show back when lots of things were different. Empire was open and was not Empire but Jaxx, Two Canadians was not Two Canadians but Union Street, and A Note Two Self was not that but The Offset. We ended up playing music with them quite a bit through the years and formed a pretty solid friendship with all of the musicians. You can check out Phil’s recent works with another member of Union Street, Joe, up above.

Their music really reminds me of old school gritty but meaningful good old fashioned rock n’ roll. With hints of The Doors and Bob Dylan the Two Canadians have found an equation that mixes grungy sounding guitars with profound and beautiful lyrics.

To start, a bio….Phil Profile

Philip Spiess has worked as a live sound and recording engineer since 2005, beginning with the Marine Corps Band, Air Force Band, Navy Band, and as the head sound engineer for Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Philip has worked and understudied with Jim Bienemann and Mike Atherton at Common Ground on the Hill since his arrival in 2006, mixing sound on various festival stages since 2009. He has done sound mixing and engineering for Taylor Swift, Carbon Leaf, State Radio, Red Jump Suit Apparatus, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Sierra Hull, Tony Trischka, and Walt Michael and Company. Currently he is a fire fighter in Woodbridge, Virginia, and is recording his first solo album.

Phil opted for the written interview. I shot him a message on Facebook and the questions began! On a Table
An2S: So Phil, What got you guys started on this project?
Phil: I started writing and working in various bands and I wanted something that was my own.  I felt acoustic left it the most raw and most open to personal interaction with the people I was playing for and found it more fun for everyone. Right now it’s just me playing as me so Joe isn’t with me anymore, he’s currently serving in the Marine Corp.
An2S: What influences… artists, life, anything… gives you the drive to continue making the music you do?
Phil: The biggest influences are actually my friends who are doing it professionally, Josh Hisle, Dan Collins, and poet Blaine Martin. I’ve worked a lot with them and toured with Dan and Josh. We met at Gettin' DownCommon Ground on the hill and they have taken me under their wings in the business.
An2S: What do you like more? Performing live for an audience, or working it behind the scenes?
Phil: Doing audio work vs performing… I love both. You can’t really compare them or put them up against each other. It’s two completely different disciplines and mind sets.
An2S: I really dig the song Boston Harbor. What is the premise and some of the meanings behind the words?
Phil: Boston harbor is an old song haha. I don’t really write happy music. It’s about being in love with someone but you never know if they Banjolove you or the idea of you until obviously it’s too late and your hearts broken. If you think it’s normally the way it really is.

An2S: How long have you an Joe been playing together and when can we expect more music from the two of you?

Phil: Me and Joe played together in high school and through part of college. We split up back in 2011 so until he gets out of the military probably no bass lines from Joe sadly.
It was great being able to interview Phil and revisit the music I first heard years ago with The Offset.To find more from Phil Spiess and Two Canadians check out their stuff on ReverbNation.
Stay tuned for next weeks What’s on the L.O.W.?! When I interview Chris Carrigan of The Fem Doms and showcase their album Thump.